Journalists are lazy. At parties where I dare to tell people what I do, I hear it regularly, in addition to the terrible sentence: “I know something you should write about” (And then comes a boring story about the mating behaviour of the South China koi).
Journalists are lazy. It is so easy to say, a gratuitous opinion in the category ‘the little man always gets it’. Someone shouts it, the rest of the room nods enthusiastically, nothing to argue anymore.
And of course, some journalists are lazy. Not asking for rebuttal is lazy. Misspelling a name. Not doing any research on an interviewee. Lazy lazy lazy .
But can I just have some attention for the other side of the story? Without journalists like Nathalie Righton, Halbe Zijlstra would still be making things up about Putin’s dacha (“And then Vladi said , yes, so I can say Vladi …”).
Without journalists such as Jet Schouten and Joop Bouma from the implant files, we would not know that a breast implant could move around in our body and burst at the height of our elbow.
Without journalists like Paul Vugts (who is threatened and nevertheless keeps on writing, call that lazy) no one could have understood all the details of the complicated mocro mafia web.
And without journalists, the eighty-year-old Mr. and Mrs. de Jong would never have been able to report their still-born son Jan to the municipality because it was only after so much fuss was made in the newspaper that the law stated that stillborn babies “are not supposed to have existed” was changed.
And yes, for the latter I can give myself a little pat on the back, as well as others who have lobbied till they dropped before Minister Plasterk gave in. Because changing laws is extremely difficult. It also takes so much time and meetings. Not something one is eager to do. The Hague was not. But finally it was done. Because a journalist had stirred up things.
Of course everyone can rail at us, I love freedom of speech, but meanwhile people do not know how much effort was put in writing the articles they glance at at the breakfast table.
“Journalists are lazy,” they mutter again when they see that a name is not spelled correctly. Yes dude. And the government doesn’t do anything for us, directors are just in it for the money, the small man always gets it. Those are opinions that nobody will comment on anymore. Heard too often, too generalizing, too stupid. Too… precisely: too lazy.
Author, journalist and columnist for Het Parool